New York Mets should keep Peter Alonso off their Opening Day roster
By Nick Scheurer
New York Mets prospect Peter Alonso could become a star in Major League Baseball. When the 2019 season starts, it shouldn’t be in the big leagues.
In 2018, the New York Mets’ number two prospect, Peter Alonso, hit 36 home runs and 119 RBIs in only 132 games split between Double-A Binghamton and Triple-A Las Vegas, leading the minor leagues in both categories.
He boasts some seriously impressive big league power, exemplified by a double in the Arizona Fall League on October 24, 2018 that registered an exit velocity of 116.3 MPH according to Statcast.
That’s the highest exit velocity any player in the Mets organization has managed since the inception of Statcast in 2015.
The Mets are going into the 2019 season with a glaring need at first base and Alonso’s .285/.395/.579 slash line would certainly be a welcome contribution at the highest level.
More from Rising Apple
- NY Mets News: Marcus Stroman sees “potential fit” with the Angels
- NY Mets were too “seek” and not enough “destroy” last winter
- NY Mets: 1 trade target to consider from each 100-loss team
- NY Mets: Top 12 free agents the team should look to sign this winter
- NY Mets: Jeff Wilpon’s legacy continues to plague the Amazins
There is no question Alonso belongs in the big leagues. But, there is a big reason why the Mets may be wise to leave him in the minors to start the season: Service time.
Managing a player’s service time isn’t a fan-friendly endeavor. Many believe it is unfair to the individual player and ruins the integrity of the sport. I’m here to tell you that it’s a super important part of baseball and may determine how competitive the Mets are for years to come.
The Mets, like any other team, are in the entertainment business. Fans want to see their favorite players take the field year after year and ownership wants to put said players on the field for as little money as possible.
This can best be accomplished by using service time as a business weapon to maximize a young player’s value.
A team maintains the rights to a player until said player accrues six full years of MLB service time. This is important because, according to the collective bargaining agreement, it must be six FULL years.
A full year of service in the MLB is 172 days. This means that once a player is no longer capable of attaining 172 days of service during their first season, they are more likely to be called up because said season will not ultimately count as a full year of service.
This is why we often see young stars called up a few weeks into the season rather than appearing on the opening day roster. Famous examples of this strategy being employed are the Cubs’ Kris Bryant (who accrued exactly 171 days in his rookie season) and Braves’ Ronald Acuna.
Therefore, by waiting a couple of weeks into the season to call up Alonso, the organization can delay his arbitration eligibility for a year, allowing them an extra season to pay him next to league minimum and giving them another full year of control.
In the end, this makes Alonso more valuable, given a cheaper contract and an extra year as a Met that will pay off down the road assuming he is as good as his stats suggest.
So, while this doesn’t necessarily benefit Alonso, it certainly benefits the Mets organization enormously. As a fan, you must ask yourself: “Can I wait a couple of weeks to see Alonso so that the Mets can benefit long-term?”
The answer is yes. You can. You should. You will.
The extra value gained from manipulating service time is astronomical in this business and will be well worth the wait.
Want your voice heard? Join the Rising Apple team!
What do you think about the service time rules? Is playing the service time game unethical or just good business?